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Having expelled the cold with some soup, we hired a little phaeton,' and immediately proceeded to Sans Souci, distant about two English miles, which, as well as the neighbouring country palaces, are so much the fruit of the great Frederick's taste, that it was like paying a visit to his spirit
. As we proceeded to the gallery of pictures, we passed by his hot-houses, which he cherished with great care. So partial was his Majesty to hot-house fruit, that before the buildings were erected, he who would have scantily provided for a gallant officer mutilated in his service, did not hesitate to pay a ducat for a cherry! When he was dying, his pine-apples occupied his principal attention.
We entered the picture gallery from the road through a rustic door: this room, two hundred and fifty eight feet long, thirty-six broad, and fifteen high, is supported by Carrara pillars, and is superbly gilded and ornamented. The collection is very select and precious: we principally noticed the Graces, by Dominichino; Vertumnus and Pomona, by Leonardo da Vinci; Titian and his wife, by himself; Danae and Cupid, by the same artist; Venus bathing, by Corregio; three different styles of Painting, by Guido; the Holy Family, by Raphael, which cost fourteen thousand ducats; a Cave of Devils, by Teniers, in which his mother and wife are represented as members of the infernal family, his father as Saint Antonio, and himself in a bonnet rouge, laughing at the
DOGS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT.
group; a Head of Christ, by Vandyke; Ignorance and Wisdom, by Corregio; a Head of Christ, upon leaf gold, by Raphael, for which Frederick the Great paid six thousand ducats; several other paintings, by the same great master, upon the same ground; a Virgin and Infant, by Rubens; and several other exquisite works of art. There was once a beautiful little Magdalen here, by Raphael, which Frederick bartered to the Elector of Saxony for a troop of horse : this sort of barter seems not to have been unusual. Augustus II., Elector of Saxony, purchased forty-eight bulky porcelain vases of Frederick William I., of Prussia, for a fine regiment of dragoons.
From the gallery we ascended a stair-case, and entered a terrace, whence a beautiful view of the river, and the surrounding country, lay expanded before us. As we proceeded to the palace, or pavilion, composed of a long suite of rooms upon a ground floor, the tombs of Frederick’s dogs were pointed out to us, the only creatures for whom he entertained a cordial affection. It is well known that he indulged the strange belief, that these animals possessed the power of discriminating character, and that he disliked those at whom they barked : most of these canine favourites were honoured with a royal epitaph. It is related, that whenever he went to war, he always carried a small Italian greyhound with him; and that when, in the seven years war, he happened to be pursued by a
reconnoitring party of Austrians, he took shelter under a dry arch of a bridge, with his favourite in his arms; and that although the enemy passed and repassed the bridge several times, yet the animal, naturally churlish;. lay quite still, and scarcely breathed : had he barked, Frederick must have been discovered and taken prisoner, and Prussia, in all human probability, would have shared the fate of Poland, and swelled the empires of Russia and of Germany. There is another story told, the authenticity of which is indubitable : Frederick the Great, in his dying moments, expressed a wish to. be buried by the side of his dogs. One of these favourites, another greyhound bitch, was taken at the battle of Sorr, when the baggage was plundered by Trenck and Nadasti. Regardless of inferior losses, the King was in the act of writing to Nadasti, to request his bitch might be restored, when the Austrian General, knowing his love for the animal, which was itself greatly attached to him, had sent it back: the bitch, unperceived by the monarch, leaped upon the table while he was writing, and, as usual, began to caress him, at which he was so affected that he shed tears. The day before he had cut off many thousands of men, and charged his dear children to give no Saxon quarter. The only amiable trait in Frederick's composition was of a canine nature: he possessed nothing to attach man to him but his fondness for dogs.
We saw the room where Frederick slept and died: it was
plain and simple; and, upon the chimney-piece, was a beautiful antique of Julius Cæsar when a boy. After passing through several handsome rooms, we reached the dining-room. It is well known that Frederick the Great indulged in the pleasures of the table, and that English, French, German, Italian, Russian cooks, were employed in this royal philosopher's kitchen.. The apartment of Voltaire, where I could not resist sitting down in his chair before his desk, dotted all over with spots of a pen, more keen and triumphant than the sword, and wondering how such a genius could associate for three years with the crafty, ungrateful, cold, ungenerous, tyrannical, rancorous, and implacable Frederick, who, if he merited the title of great, had no pretensions to that of good : that the wit and the sovereign should have differed no one can wonder; but every one must that they had not quarrelled and parted sooner.
In the life of Voltaire we see the triumph of letters. The late Empress of Russia courted his friendship by every touching art which, even from clever women in the ordinary ranks of life, is irresistible: she did nothing without affecting to consult him; she invited him to Petersburg, and placed the model of his house at Ferney, in the Hermitage. Frederick the Great sought him with avidity, bordering on abject solicitation; but the mean and ungenerous despotism of the sovereign's heart, rendered him unworthy the honour of an associa
tion, which with equal meanncss and harshness he dissolved. Why was Voltaire thus courted by two of the most distinguished potentates of their own, or perhaps of any other age? Because they knew that the pen of such a genius could give any colour to their actions, and could measure out and extend their fame.
The gardens of Sans Souci appeared to be elegantly arranged; but it was no time to explore leafless bowers and alleys no longer green:
“ When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And milk comes frozen home in pail.”
The façade of Sans Souci, towards the plain, is very elegant; towards the terrace very heavy, where it resembles more a great tasteless green-house than a royal residence. From Sans Souci, we drove through a beautiful park to the new palace, distant about an English mile and a half. After passing two grand lodges and out-offices, connected by an elegant semicircular colonnade of eighty-eight columns, we entered the palace, the front of which is adorned with Corinthian pilasters, and the body built with the rich red Dutch brick: the hall was a superb vaulted grotto, formed of chrystals, branches of coral and shells, and fountains, arranged with equal elegance and novelty. Respecting the construction of this extraordi